The race is on and I didn’t even know it.

Most of the crap I ordered early in the week is due on Tuesday, July 6. It turns out that as far as the new PowerBook is concerned, it can’t be a moment too soon. Trinity’s 32-GB IBM TravelStar hard drive has taken a significant turn for the worse, and it may prove far more interesting than I’d like as to whether or not I have the ability to pull some very important information off of that machine. (I am composing this weblog entry on Zephyr, portability being one of the defining advantages of a weblogging system like MovableType.)

I’ve been running TechTool Pro 4 since 3 AM (don’t ask—I’m still not sleeping well) and as of this writing (1 PM), the program is still working on repairing the volume structure. Even if that doesn’t succeed, I will launch DiskWarrior 2.51 to rebuild the directory—something I’ve been doing almost weekly for several months now and a process that has yet to fail me.

Importantly, the built-in diagnostics system of the drive (aka S.M.A.R.T.) now fails, something that has not happened previously. It’s not as if my increasingly frequent freezes within Mac OS X weren’t sign enough. The drive is clearly on its last legs; the question is whether or not it’s got enough juice left to make it until Tuesday when I can start moving everything to the new PowerBook.

This seems as good a time as any to talk about backup strategies. They universally acknowledged as a Good Thing™ but I don’t know anyone who has consistently implemented one. Including, I’m sorry to say, me. Here’s what I know I’ve got backed-up: Quicken, QuickBooks, PGP private keys, Address Book, iCal, Safari bookmarks. The best of Jonah’s iPhoto photos are obviously online, but that’s still some 6400 images which aren’t. Years worth of email hangs in the balance. Lots of personal and company data I have aged backups of. There will be some more miscellaneous bits that I’ve randomly stuck on a Jaz disk or a CD-R over the years, but nothing systematic. If the drive goes permanently south, I stand to lose a lot.

And yet I dare say that my backup strategy and its implementation is better than most. I could recover from a disaster like what may be looming. If you could too, then regardless of what pundits say, your backup strategy is fine. But if there’s some stuff on your computer that you’d really, really rather not do without, let my experience today be all the encouragement you need to put a safety net in place.